An unfair and off-balanced look at Colorado politics.

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Polling the pollsters

By Charles Ashby
Thursday, June 10, 2010

Though RealPolitics generally doesn't like rankings, including polls, there is an interesting one we thought you might like to know about, well, polls.

A website called -- so named after the 538 electoral votes in the nation's Electoral College --has rated the nation's top pollsters.

Not only is it interesting to note that a popular Colorado polling company is ranked high, but it's also interesting to understand which polls may be more trustworthy than others (the best pollsters admit that even the best ones are really just guesses, educated guesses, but guesses nonetheless).

Floyd Ciruli has been around Colorado politics for quite some time, and is very knowledgeable -- not to meantion, personable -- about it. As a result, he deserves some recognition. He is lead only by Field Poll, ABC/Washington Post and SurveyUSA. Check it out here.

But as a point of disclosure, is operated by a Chicago guy who, while being unaffiliated, admits to primarily supporting Democrats, though not always. Still, it's always important to know where someone is coming from, to understand where they may be trying to lead you.

It's also interesting to note that some polls -- and the reason why RealPolitics generally doesn't care for them -- that are most often repeated on blogs, by candidates and in the media are some of the worst, according to Zogby, InsiderAdvantage and Public Opinion Strategies are ranked at the bottom.

One pollster has been "blacklisted" by the website on allegations it may have fabricated results.


Where’s Douglas Bruce?

By Charles Ashby
Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Front Range newspapers have had a field day with stories about the so-called father of the 1992 Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.

Seems plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 have been trying to serve the famous -- or is it, infamous? -- Douglas Bruce with a subpoena, but the El Paso county attorney has been dodging law enforcement servers for weeks.

Here's a nice little story on the subject published in the Colorado Springs Gazette late last month:

DENVER -- Colorado Springs resident Douglas Bruce was a guiding force behind a massive signature-gathering campaign that led to placement on the November ballot of three controversial measures, testimony in a campaign finance complaint hearing revealed Monday.


Bruce, who has a law degree, not only advised the sponsors of the ballot issues on how to file court motions, but he also advised one proponent not to testify at the hearing and to destroy his e-mail, testimony and records submitted during the hearing indicate.


The surprise witness at the hearing was Michelle Northrup, a 38-year-old writer from Black Hawk. Northrup testified that she didn't approve of the evasion tactics being used by the other backers of the ballot issues and didn't "approve of orders being barked at me" by Bruce.

Read more:


The dropping of the ball

By Charles Ashby
Friday, May 14, 2010

At the end of every legislative session, Sen. Shawn Mitchell, a Republican from Broomfield and an accomplished mountain climber, traditionally walks around the Capitol, but not in the way most people do.

He walks around it from the third-floor ledge.

The long-time lawmaker also manages to do something else memorable. During the session, he keeps all the rubber bands that cross his path, wrapping them in a nice ball that ususally gets to be the size of a mellon when the 120-session is over.

He then drops that ball from inside the Capitol dome, all the way from the top to the grand staircase several feet below.

Here's the vid:


Never know until you don’t try

By Charles Ashby
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Pueblo senator didn't think he had enough votes to get a bill approved that would have placed a question on this year's ballot making it harder to alter the Colorado Constitution.

Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, the lawmaker who sponsored a measure to get the failed Referendum O on the ballot in 2008, tried again this session.

His Senate Concurrence Resolution 3, euphemistically known as Referendum O-Lite, was designed to require petitions for a ballot question signed in all seven of the state's congressional districts, and require a 60 percent majority of voters to approve.

Tapia, like others in the state, including former Grand Junction Sen. Ron Teck, a Republican, have long believed it should be harder to alter the state's founding document. They say too many changes have been made to it already, so much so it's created conflicts, particularly over fiscal matters.

Because that opinion isn't universal in the Legislature, Tapia didn't think he had the needed two-thirds vote in the Senate to get it passed, so the term-limited lawmaker asked the Senate just to kill it so as not to waste anyone's time.

But because some senators either felt sympathetic to Tapia's final attempt at the idea, or they supported the idea, his motion to kill his own bill died on a 20-13 vote.

No one was more surprised than Tapia when senators later approved the bill on a 24-9 vote.

It was all moot, however. The measure needed a vote in the House late Tuesday to stay alive, and have a final vote today, the last day of the 2010 session. Because of a controversial bill on teacher tenure, that vote never took place.


Curry’s name will be on ballot, for now

By Charles Ashby
Monday, May 10, 2010

Working late at night with only two days left in the 2010 session, the Senate tacked an amendment onto a bill Monday that would allow unaffiliated Rep. Kathleen Curry of Gunnison to appear on this fall's ballot.

House Bill 1271, introduced by Curry and Senate Majority Leader John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, was designed to allow unaffiliated candidates to be on a general election ballot if they were not associated with any political party as of Jan. 1 of that election year. Currently, candidates must be unaffiliated for 1-1/2 years before they can qualify for the ballot, but members of political parties can get on ballots in a much shorter time.

But to make sure people didn't think she hadn't introduced the bill to help herself, Curry made it effective starting next year. Last fall, Curry decided to leave the Democratic Party and become an unaffiliated voter, but did so long after that election clock had already begun to allow her to be on the ballot for re-election this fall.

But in a somewhat surprise move, Sen. Greg Brophy, a Republican from the Eastern Plains, offered an amendment to change the bill to be effective this year, meaning Curry's name could appear on the ballot. The Senate adopted it 19-16.

"I don't know if its the right thing to do politically, but it's the right thing to do from a policy standpoint," Brophy said. "It's a tough call. I hope I didn't make a mistake politically."

Most political observers believed the Republicans liked the idea of not having her on the ballot because it would make it easier for the party to take the seat because Curry would have to run as a write-in candidate. Currently, no Democrat has entered the race, but one Republican, Luke Korkowski, has.

The bill still required a final Senate vote, but then must return to the House.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, the Senate stripped off that amendment, meaning Curry still will have to mount a difficult write-in campaign if she wants to serve a fourth and final term on the House.

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